Thursday, October 25, 2007

Back from Switzerland

We had a heck of a week while Einstein was off gallivanting around Switzerland. He had a great, albeit sleepless, time-- traveling, meeting with his potential colleagues and checking the place over. Luckily he remembered to bring back plenty of pictures (over 600 of them!) and the requisite gifts for those of us left behind. It's true what they say-- the chocolate is definitely edible. And it's a beautiful country, though I think the pictures speak for themselves.

The interview went really well, and we should know more in a couple of weeks. In the meantime I've been hard at work sleuthing out the homeschooling situation. We've got a few ideas how to make it work there-- though it would certainly be a bonus if the laws were more straightforward. From everything I have read, it seems that the laws regarding homeschooling in Switzerland are tricky. They differ from canton to canton, and then again from city to city within each canton, and then again depending on who you talk to or what day it is, etc. It's absolutely mind-boggling!

Having vented my frustrations to many people now, I had to laugh when one of them sent me the following Swiss joke:

If you ask a young German boy where babies come from, he will tell you that they come from the stork. If you ask a young French boy the same question, he will tell you that it has something to do with sex. Finally, if you ask a young Swiss boy where babies come from, he will look at you very knowingly and say “It’s different from canton to canton.”

That pretty much sums it up.

Homeschooling aside, it's a huge decision to make. Einstein was sweet enough to take pictures of everything he could think of that the kids and I would find relevant-- from the produce section in the grocery store and the wares at the health food coop to the leaseable garden plots and the farmer's markets. He even managed to find the local library and seek out the international children's book section so he could show us how many books were in English.

It never occurred to me to think "library" in terms of shelves rather than floors.

Like I said, big decision. And I don't do things lightly. I'm not one of those folks that can just jump right into the water to find out how cold it is. I'm much too melancholic for that. I gather the information, plot the charts, and then maybe stick my toe in to test it out. If I decide it's the right plan, then I bravely wade right in... and rarely regret it.

I've spent the last couple of weeks in careful contemplation. Surely I had a few moments where I completely freaked out over the idea of moving, but mostly that was over the whole canton to canton issue. I've come to realize that this isn't one of those things that I can plot and chart and test out. Picking up and moving to another country is a lot like having that first baby. No matter how much we read about it, we can't truly anticipate what it will be like until we do it. We'd have to jump.

They say that if you take a job overseas that if you don't stick it out for two years or more that it's a failed venture. The costs are too high otherwise. I read somewhere that something like sixty percent of overseas positions end up as failed ventures, with the highest reason for failure being family relations-- either unhappiness of the children in school or unhappiness of the spouse who had to give up his/her career. By continuing to homeschool we pretty much take care of both of those issues, and then it just boils down to how strong we are as a family unit. How resilient and adaptive we are. How committed.

We've shown ourselves to be all of those things in the past. So now we're just at the point where we wait and see if Einstein gets the job. By mid-November we should know whether or not they will give us the chance to jump.



  1. Gulp is right. Big one. We're watching with you, wishing you all the best that's right for your family. Ahhhh!

  2. i pray it's one of those decisions where it is easily evident which way to go.
    wishing you all the very best with it sara.


  3. Oh my what a decision!

    And what gorgeous pics from switzerland.

  4. dh's former colleague, when he accepted the job in Germany, knew that his wife and kids were petrified, and said he knew he was on very thin ice. It's interesting because he is Swiss, and after getting married, he and his (Canadian) wife moved back to Switzerland for a number of years. They kids were born there, although the younger daughter was only a baby when they moved here to the States. It's a huge adjustment to move to a foreign country, but your kids are lucky that you will continue to homeschool because that will help them to not feel as panicky as the kids of dh's former colleague.


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